Five ways to take care of your mental health during unemployment
12 October 2020 at 8:33 am
Losing your job can take more of a toll than you might realise. With World Mental Health Day taking place on Saturday, we take a look at how you can stay mentally healthy during your hunt for a job.
Because our work is about so much more than just the way we pay the bills, going for an extended period without it is bound to take its toll on our mental health.
Research backs this up too. Studies have found that on top of the financial stress, losing a job can increase a person’s risk of health problems, such as depression and anxiety.
Even for the most resilient person, it’s important to have strategies in place to nurture your brain during this tough time. We take a look at some things you can do.
Be kind to yourself.
Telling yourself that it’s all your fault you don’t have a job, or that no one will want to employ you, is an easy trap to fall into in the face of a few job rejections. But it certainly won’t help you in your job search.
Recognising, and then challenging this negative self-talk is an important first step.
Keep a regular daily routine.
When first losing your job, it might seem like a bit of fun to spend all day on the couch in your pjs. But with no one to report to or anyone to check in on you, it’s easy to fall into bad habits.
That’s why the experts at Beyond Blue suggest setting a start and end time to your day, with time set aside for exercise and networking. Setting tasks for yourself throughout the day such as updating your resume, or designating times to monitor job websites will mean you will be more productive and feel more fulfilled by the end of the week.
Regular exercise, eating well, and going to the GP for regular checkups are all important, because without a healthy body, there’s no way your mind can be healthy either.
It’s also important to find exercise that you enjoy doing, because if it’s not fun, you won’t stick to it.
Stick to the positives
It’s definitely easier to focus on the negatives while you’re unemployed, but doing a daily reminder of all the things you’ve got going for you will be of great benefit. Writing down all the moments when you’ve succeeded, your best personality traits, or a particular project you were really proud of.
Looking back and reflecting on this list every now and then to remind yourself how great you are is also really important to keep motivation levels up.
Set small goals
Focusing on the things you can actually control in your job hunt, such as upskilling, giving your resume a makeover or expanding your networks, is a great way to not only increase your chances of landing a job, but of keeping productive and busy. You can’t control an employers decision to hire you, but you can work on you.
Of course, it’s also important to know when to call it in. If you’re experiencing consistently low moods for more than two weeks, or overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, seek professional support.
You can start by contacting the Beyond Blue support line on 1300 22 46 36 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.